December 21, 2015

"For us, as mainstream Muslim women, born in Egypt and India, the spectacle at the mosque was a painful joke and reminder of the well-financed effort by conservatives to dominate modern Muslim societies."

"This modern-day movement spreads an ideology of political Islam, called 'Islamism,' enlisting unsuspecting well-intentioned do-gooders, while promoting the headscarf for women as a virtual 'sixth pillar' of Islam, after the traditional 'five pillars,' the shahada (or proclamation of faith), prayer, fasting, charity and pilgrimage. We reject this interpretation. We are not too sexy for our hair.... In interpretations from the 7th century to today, theologians, from the late Moroccan scholar Fatima Mernissi to UCLA’s Khaled Abou El Fadl, and Harvard’s Leila Ahmed, Egypt’s Zaki Badawi, Iraq’s Abdullah al Judai and Pakistan’s Javaid Ghamidi, have clearly established that Muslim women are not required to cover their hair. To us, the headscarf is a symbol of an interpretation of Islam we reject that believes that women are a sexual distraction to men, who are weak, and, thus, we must cover ourselves. We don’t buy it. This ideology promotes a social attitude that absolves men of sexually harassing women and puts the onus on the victim to protect herself by covering up."

From a column in The Washington Post by Asra Q. Nomani and Hala Arafa titled "As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the ‘hijab’ in the name of interfaith solidarity."

51 comments:

Lyle Smith said...

Hi-five women!

SteveR said...

We know the answer but you're going up against the "conservative" Islamism folks and a whole bunch of feel gooders on college campuses and in the media that think you have to wear a hijab (and all that entails).

MayBee said...

Yes.

I have little sympathy for the women who choose to wear the hijab and then complain about being discriminated against for doing so.
I have great sympathy for women whose husbands make them wear it.
I really think the hijab is one reason it is so easy to "otherize" Muslims, and why it is so easy for many to insult them/dislike the religion.

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Here's a very funny - but serious - clip of Nasser talking about his meeting in 1952 with the head of the Muslim Brotherhood. Nasser, a secularist, said he held it to see if he could come to some sort of compromise with the MB who opposed his rule. The first thing the MB leader demanded was that Nasser require all Egyptian women wear the hijab.

The MB was eventually banned by Nasser after they tried, on numerous occasions, to assassinate him.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bcO3TxHW5M

traditionalguy said...

By Jove. She's got it.

David Begley said...

Attention Muslim women!

Your religion will NEVER be reformed.

Maybe an organized sex strike might work, but I doubt it.

Quit your religion. Go secular as that is the easiest path.

Your religion has only caused pain, death, destruction and chaos for hundreds of years. Wise up.

Owen said...

Encouraging but I want to hear how much hate-mail they get. I hope it's nothing worse.

In a world of anonymized messaging and flash mobs, how can reason or moderation flourish? Or even survive?

Terry said...

Bernard Lewis despaired that majority Islamic nations (esp. Arabic speaking majority Islamic nations) that rejected an Islamic form of government tended to model themselves on authoritarian Western governments. That is, they tended to emulate Cuba or the Soviet Union rather than France or the United States. There is something in Islam that, irrationally, prefers oppression to liberalism.

n.n said...

Positive progress. However, let's see if they move from one extreme to another and hold a Slut Parade.

Ann Althouse said...

"I have little sympathy for the women who choose to wear the hijab and then complain about being discriminated against for doing so."

Why?!

Just because someone chooses something — and all religion should be a matter of choice — doesn't mean it's okay to discriminate against them.

I can't imagine why you think discriminating against them is somehow deserved because they didn't have to choose to do it. That would justify requiring everyone to keep their religion quiet... or keep any opinions quiet. It's like you don't believe in freedom of expression.

Seriously, I do not get your position at all. Have you thought it through? Are you actually advocating religious discrimination against anyone whose religion is detectable?!

Ann Althouse said...

What the column writes are complaining about is the support being given to Muslims in the form of wearing the hijab. It's the wrong symbol of support, they say.

traditionalguy said...

The super legalism in Islam seeking a pride in self image is willing to sacrifice women escapees and all other necessary victims. It is a religion of iron misery and death. Respect that at your own risk.

boxty woot said...

Why call them conservatives? Why not orthodox? Even the Orthodox Christian tradition is that women cover their head in church. Why? To remind them that "woman is the glory of man" and "the head of the woman is man." That's 1 Corinthians 11.

Gahrie said...

Are you actually advocating religious discrimination against anyone whose religion is detectable?!

Isn't that already a plank in the Democratic Party platform?

MadisonMan said...

You mean those well-meaning students at Wheaton College have the wrong end of the stick?

Gahrie said...

There is something in Islam that, irrationally, prefers oppression to liberalism.

There is nothing irrational about it at all. The culture and religious tenets of Islam are oppression. Islam means submission. The demand of Islam is to live your life as closely as possible to that of an illiterate sixth century Arabic warlord.

Michael said...

I don't believe that Maybee was supporting discrimination against women wearing the hijab but rather was making the point that those inclined to discriminate would be incited to do so by the hijab. A distinction with a difference. Do we discriminate against the race of those wearing their pants below their asses or do we discriminate against a way of dress that offends? Freedom of expression is dandy but often results in attracting discriminating tastes.

You are unlikely to come across women in the full burqua in Madison but I wonder if you would be inclined to sidle up to a woman so dressed and initiate a conversation? Would Meade? Would your failure to do so be a result of discrimination, fear or simply honoring a way of dress that suggests the wearer is not up for conversation with strangers?

I see these women in London trailing behind their husbands. It is not the same as Amish in plain dress. Or is it exactly the same?

MayBee said...

Seriously, I do not get your position at all. Have you thought it through?

Yes, I have.

Terry said...

"You are unlikely to come across women in the full burqua in Madison but I wonder if you would be inclined to sidle up to a woman so dressed and initiate a conversation?"
It is not uncommon to come across a woman in a burqa in Minneapolis.
At least Nomani and Arafa don't pretend (as our president and Secretary of State do) that there is an infinite gulf between Islamism and terrorist Islamism, where one is a legitimate religion and one is some crazy thing that is not Islamic or any religion at all.

Pookie Number 2 said...

If it was motivated by interfaith solidarity, faux-hijabists would occasionally show some respect for traditional Christianity. This costumery is just crocodile-feeding cowardice.

BrianE said...

Growing up my mother always wore a hat to church-- based on Paul's writings in I Corinthians 11:1-16. Verse 5- "...but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven."
It's very easy to take this out of context with the entire chapter, and it's easy for today's feminists to revile at the idea of showing submission to her husband-- but Paul's point was that everyone-- husband and wife show submission-- it's just that the wife's was visible.
Now bring that in context to the Poli Sci professor at Wheaton college who wanted to wear a hijab in solidarity to Muslim women. I'm sure if a man pointed out that she should wear a hat as a symbol of submission as proscribed in the Bible she would bristle and refuse-- yet she's more than willing to submit to a religion that she apparently knows little about. (The reason she was put on leave at Wheaton was not for the head covering but for a serious misunderstanding of the nature of God. And rightfully so, IMO).
Based on the Post article, the women have a valid point for not wearing a scarf.
Just as Christians, for the most part, have reached the conclusion that Paul's teaching in I Corinthians was cultural, and doesn't apply today (which raises serious issues IMO), Muslim women should make the case today. It's one thing, on an individual basis, to wear a scarf as a personal gesture for a husband, it's quite another to make it proscribed by Islam.
What they are describing as the hijab, or veil, sounds more like the Burkha. I wonder how they reconcile that-- unless the scarf IS the modern interpretation of the veil.

MayBee said...

I don't believe that Maybee was supporting discrimination against women wearing the hijab but rather was making the point that those inclined to discriminate would be incited to do so by the hijab. A distinction with a difference. Do we discriminate against the race of those wearing their pants below their asses or do we discriminate against a way of dress that offends? Freedom of expression is dandy but often results in attracting discriminating tastes.

Thank you, Michael. Exactly.
Your second paragraph is spot on, as is your comment about London. I don't see how a woman in full burqua can feel integrated into Western society. For me, personally, though I have no ill feelings toward them, I don't feel as though they want me to reach out to them. To me, their dress says, "I'm not allowed to talk to you"

As for the hijab, again, I don't discriminate against women who wear them. I do, in fact, interact with them. But it is a sign of subjugation, and I can understand why people who meet a woman wearing a hijab assumes she wants to be subjugated.

And yes, I think the way you dress signals all kinds of things. Not just religion. You can dress sloppily, your pants can droop, men can wear shorts, you can dress a little slutty. And people will judge people for all of those choices.

Amanda said...

While I understand that those non Muslim female's who participated in the wearing of a hijab/ head scarf to show solidarity and support Muslim women, had good intentions, I agree with these writers in that it was perhaps misguided and actually supported the subjugation of Muslim women. I've long thought that Muslim women won't advance their standing in their own society until they form a strong coalition for modernity. The hijab and especially the burqa are symbols of oppression of the females in their society to many modern women. The insane twisted notion that women will incite men to violent sexual behavior unless they are covered is, as the writers state giving the men of Islamic societies a pass on their wretched, attitudes and behavior toward females.

The writers make a good case stating that the Koran doesn't truly support such behavior toward women and that it doesn't dictate that women wear a head covering at all. As with fundamentalists of all faiths, the ancient texts get manipulated to bolster the strict authoritarian mindset of fundamentalism. Also antiquated cultural attitudes apart from fundamentalism are to blame.I give these women much credit and wish them well. I hope no harm comes to them.

MayBee said...

What the column writes are complaining about is the support being given to Muslims in the form of wearing the hijab. It's the wrong symbol of support, they say.

Exactly. And their reasoning is why muslim women who *choose* to wear it are saying something about themselves.

Gabriel said...

@Ann:Just because someone chooses something — and all religion should be a matter of choice — doesn't mean it's okay to discriminate against them.

I can't imagine why you think discriminating against them is somehow deserved because they didn't have to choose to do it. That would justify requiring everyone to keep their religion quiet... or keep any opinions quiet. It's like you don't believe in freedom of expression.


Let's not forget that religion, unlike race, is a choice, at least to remain in the religion if not to be raised in it, and not all religious expression is protected by law.

If there were significant numbers of people who embraced a religion that required human sacrifice then I hope that people would treat them a little differently from how they treat, say, Quakers.

Michael K said...

"Just because someone chooses something — and all religion should be a matter of choice — doesn't mean it's okay to discriminate against them."

Yes, and when they throw your son off a building, don't discriminate. Look at the angry guy in the Frank Luntz focus group on CBS. He is the embodiment of the Muslims who say if you don't stop taking about violent Muslims, he will kill you.

Those women can talk from the US where they are safe.

Unknown said...

"Just because someone chooses something — and all religion should be a matter of choice — doesn't mean it's okay to discriminate against them."

I am not required to fully support and comply with any choice you make. That is discrimination. And it's OK.

William said...

I don't know about the scarf, but the veil is something the Ottomans took from the Greeks when they acquired the lease on Byzantium. So there is a tradition of adapting another country's idea of female modesty to suit Islanic ideals. The scarf is not organic to America, and many people, rightly or wrongly, interpret it more as a symbol of alienation from American values than as a symbol of religious devotion......I recommend that Muslim women deep six the scarf and instead adopt the pantsuit. No one ever directs carnal thoughts at women wearing pantsuits, and yet this garment is uniquely American. So, by wearing the pantsuit, a Muslim woman can reclaim both her modesty and her support of. American values. This is an idea whose time has come.

Hagar said...

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was taught that the brute men would not be able to control their animal sexual desires if they ever saw her without her hijab, not to mention without her ankles covered.
In Nomad (I think) she has a very funny section on how she figured out for herself that they had lied to her about this too.

Gusty Winds said...

What the column writes are complaining about is the support being given to Muslims in the form of wearing the hijab. It's the wrong symbol of support, they say.

I can't believe Feminists aren't freaking out about the hijab. I think it really illustrates their hypocrisy and disdain Christianity. After so many battles to burn the bra, and rake the womb, you would think that any form of bodily suppression/oppression would be a slight against current beliefs.

If you are a woman from Western Culture, and you put on a hijab to show your support of Islam...It's exactly what ISIS wants you to do.



Ken B said...

I am still trying to get over Althouse making such a great fuss about a scientist's shirt but fussing about MayBee's point that some might react to the implicit signal a burka sends. I mean seriously, if Althouse is allowed to object to a shirt a guy wears when he's 5 states away from her, why can't a woman confronted with one in the flesh object to a burka and its implicit signal about what *she* should be wearing?

Ken B said...

"What the column writes are complaining about is the support being given to Muslims in the form of wearing the hijab. It's the wrong symbol of support, they say."

Indeed. What these 'supporters' are doing is signalling to Muslim women who do *not* want to wear the veil is that western liberals view the requirement that they do so as perfectly acceptable. "You will get no help from us."

damikesc said...

Just because someone chooses something — and all religion should be a matter of choice — doesn't mean it's okay to discriminate against them.

Says who? If somebody chooses to rape people, they should be discriminated against. If somebody chooses to touch young kids, they should be discriminated against. If I choose to shoot up heroin, who'd blame somebody for not taking me into their house?

Things out of somebody's control, yeah, uncool to discriminate. But conscious decisions? Yeah, discriminate the shit out of it. Unless you, as an employer, have a specific rule against doing so.

I can't imagine why you think discriminating against them is somehow deserved because they didn't have to choose to do it. That would justify requiring everyone to keep their religion quiet... or keep any opinions quiet. It's like you don't believe in freedom of expression.

If you choose to live in slavery, I can't really feel bad if you live as a slave. Islam, mind you, doesn't remotely require the hijab. It never did.

Gusty Winds said...

Get all these same Hijab wearing solidarity people in the same room and ask them to put on a white Amish prayer cap that all the women wear, and they'd be crying oppression.

Wheaton College gets hacked in the media because it doesn't want the Hijab on campus. I doubt it would be any more welcome if a teacher dressed in a full nun's habit or wore a priest collar to any American Public School. You'd probably get run off campus at UW, and ironically at Marquette too.

Ken B said...

AA to MayBee:
"Seriously, I do not get your position at all. Have you thought it through? Are you actually advocating religious discrimination against anyone whose religion is detectable?!"

What a leap. MayBee said no such thing. She didn't even suggest the discrimination would be religious, rather than just as a reaction to the signal sent by the clothing. MayBee did imply a point that Althouse herself has insisted on repeatedly: clothing sends a message and people can react to messages. Need I cite men in shorts or scientists in shirts? Would Ann react to what she thought was a rude shirt in class? When I see a fool in a Che shirt I ask him (politley, with interest) if he has the matching Beria or Himmler shirt. I get the wearer's message; I react. I presume MayBee has little sympathy with my interlocutor. I certainly have none.

n.n said...

Religion or moral philosophy, faith, and tradition are separable.

Also, religion or moral philosophy and law are fungible. However, while they are both intended to direct and respond to behaviors, the latter is notably coercive in its secular implementation and in totalitarian regimes.

eric said...

Maybe we Christians are going about this in the wrong way.

We should carry signs and protest saying, "We agree with Islam, ladies, cover up!"

Let's have Islam yank Overtones Window back to the right.

Terry said...

A few points of interest-
1) The authors recognize the 1979 victory of Islamic fundamentalists in Iran as the point when the Muslim female head covering returned.
2) The authors use the words of the Koran to defend their position -- e.g., they are not making an argument from a modern, non-Islamic source.
3) Despite what you may read in historical novels or see in the movies, female head covering (for modesty's sake) was the norm in Christian countries until modern times.

vanderleun said...

And another Five muslim-American women get put on several death lists here and abroad.

buwaya said...

The arguments over Islam are missing much of the point.
Its not that extremist Islam is a problem.
Its that Islamic societies are difficult neighbors for anyone else, extremist or not.
Much of the time the extremes of religion are just a pose or cover for the hostile, raiding culture that is prevalent vs their neighbors.
And Islamist extremism is not a modern problem in any way, there have been many such outbreaks, it is almost a constant in Muslim history. This is a tendency of ALL Islamic cultures, to have a fad of this, of greater or lesser extent and violence.
My best known, favorite example are the Moros of the Philippines. They have a 500-year record of savage aggression against their neighbors, Christian or pagan. They raided for slaves, booty and ransoms for hundreds of years, and their culture and economy were dependent on this aggression. They lived by booty, slave trading and slave labor for their agriculture.
They were rarely Islamic extremists. They drank liquor, uncovered their women, and generally did as they pleased with Islamic strictures, while still justifying their acts as Islamic.
We see the same across many Muslim immigrant groups in the West. Consider the drug using, hard drinking, teenager-raping Pakistanis of Rotherham.
The US is relatively lucky, it has, overall, a very well behaved Muslim population. But some part of the general chronic risks are present.

Rick said...

MayBee said...
I don't feel as though they want me to reach out to them. To me, their dress says, "I'm not allowed to talk to you"


Quibble, it says I choose to hold myself apart from everyone else. But as you say why would someone hold themselves apart and then complain their efforts are successful? Or at least allow others to complain on their behalf?

Laura said...

"Would your failure to do so be a result of discrimination, fear or simply honoring a way of dress that suggests the wearer is not up for conversation with strangers?"

And to be strictly practical, conversation usually initiates with some form of eye contact when participants are unknown to each other.

Methinks the authors protest too much to the wrong audience, but I applaud their literacy and knowledge. Women this erudite should be welcome ambassadors for a religion, not hidden away. But scarves and costumes are low on this woman's interest list, though they provide a barrier between people willing to exchange ideas. Let the authors delve as deeply into those other words, verses, histories, and practices, and show us just how the ancient texts are manipulated.

Interfaith appropriation does interfere with proper headcounts.

The Gold Digger said...

My favorite thing I learned in my Nationalism and Imperialism in the Middle East class at UT was that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk got rid of the veil in Turkey by ordering prostitutes to wear it.

Smart man.

Jupiter said...

Women who wear burkhas are slut-shaming all women who don't. You don't realize this until you find your self in a place where most women are wearing them. In those areas, the males treat any woman who is not wearing them as a whore. They're not shy about it. They intend to destroy our society, and replace it with the degraded cesspool of Islam. There are large regions of France, Germany, England and Michigan where a woman will almost certainly be molested if she is not wearing a bag.

mccullough said...

Freedom of expression is important. But religious based free expression shouldn't get any more or less protection than non religious based free expression. They are both protected from government infringement but the government only protects religious expression from private discrimination.

Roughcoat said...

Okay, but I don't care. I'm all Islam'd out.

Leigh said...

Since when did it become an automatic wrong to "discriminate"? Let's revisit the definition. Per Merriam-Webster:
___________________________
Full Definition of discriminate
dis·crim·i·nat·eddis·crim·i·nat·ing
transitive verb
1
a : to mark or perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features of
b : distinguish, differentiate
2
: to distinguish by discerning or exposing differences; especially : to distinguish from another like object
intransitive verb
1
a : to make a distinction
b : to use good judgment
2
: to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit
________________________________
Based on those definitions, there can be no argument that women who choose to wear the hijab are differentiating themselves from everyone else, quite deliberately. Behind their hijabs they are choosing to invite -- and attract -- discrimination. Moreover, they are choosing to discriminate against others. Are these voluntary hijab-donners wrong, too, Ann? They would seem to be, if you are arguing indiscriminately that we are wrong to notice them and be discriminating, ourselves.

@MayBee, I'm in your camp on this one.

Birkel said...

Althouse thinks a private citizen has no right to discriminate on any basis they wish?

Damn it but Commerce Clause jurisprudence has expanded a lot more than I thought or Althouse thinks she can impose her personal beliefs on others.

People are free to worship, love or hate as they wish. Either that or Americans are not free and the fascist takeover by Leftists is completed.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...That would justify requiring everyone to keep their religion quiet... or keep any opinions quiet. It's like you don't believe in freedom of expression.

I think that's roughly the way France plays it, isn't it? Not that I want to be France! Just, you know, pointing out another way America is in fact exceptional (contra the President, the Left, etc).

Birkel said...

"It's like you don't believe in freedom of expression." -- Althouse above, while telling other people not to express themselves certain ways, and uncharitably interpreting the comments of others.

Irony, much?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Just because someone chooses something — and all religion should be a matter of choice — doesn't mean it's okay to discriminate against them.

The only way this is defensible as a broad statement is to follow it up with an assertion that it's okay to discriminate based on the nature of the choice/belief, right? I mean, you're not arguing that it was wrong of those people who got people fired/socially ostracized for supporting (even in a minor way) Prop. 8 in California, for instance, are you? I thought that was ok since the belief at work was wrong so therefore it was right to oppose those people (and attack them socially/make them lose their jobs, etc). I mean, people CHOSE to be on the wrong side of that issue, and on that basis it was ok to discriminate against them (by private citizens, as private citizens), right? So is religion just different from some other choices/beliefs, or what?